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Out of this world

Star senior points team in right direction

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 00:09

Megan Pendergast is not your ordinary volleyball player. Standing 5 feet 6 inches tall, Megan does not allow her height to dictate her abilities on the court. Her drive and determination go above and beyond. Living and growing up in a city that embraces its space roots — Houston, Texas — Pendergast has NASA in her blood.

Charlie Hobaugh, a NASA astronaut, coached Megan when she was on her first YMCA team. Her father, Jim Pendergast, continues to work for NASA. And playing Frisbee with her dog Spock is one of the many things on her daily agenda.

So, she named the dog Spock after the famous Star Trek character?

“I grew up with all that nerdy stuff,” Pendergast explained.

It’s not necessarily nerdy to like Star Trek, right?

“It is, but we just have to embrace it for who we are.”

While her space background is apparent, even more so is her ability to play volleyball at a high level. Starting out in a YMCA team at 8 years old and making the transition to high school, Pendergast found that volleyball was a little tougher than basketball and swimming, which came easier for her.

“Volleyball wasn’t natural,” Pendergast said. “It was difficult for me to pick up, but that’s why I fell in love with it.”

Pendergast said a big reason she has such an interest in volleyball is because of the team element.

“Everyday you can get better and it’s the ultimate team sport,” Pendergast said. “There’s no LeBron or Kobe Bryant who can score all our points in one game. We all have our roles that are critical for success.”

Playing volleyball year round from the time she was in sixth grade, Pendergast was playing for club team Kazaam during the spring and summer, then playing varsity for Clear Creek High School. Pendergast developed a devotion to the game; it is rare when she’s not seen in the gym improving her game.

“I’m just a gym rat,” Pendergast said. “I never have a tan except for when I play in sand tournaments during the summer.”

Her success in high school led her to Nebraska where she hoped her game would continue to grow under the watch of head coach John Cook. But her style didn’t seem to match the system Cook had in place, making her playing time sporadic. Seeing that Megan wasn’t performing, coach Cook decided to let her transfer.

The decision for Pendergast was a simple one. She would come to the alma mater of her mother and her father. She would come to the school where her sister Macey Pendergast, class of 2015, attends. Megan was coming home.

“I wanted to be an Aggie and the Corbelli’s allowed me to come to their program,” Pendergast said. “I felt so blessed to be part of this because this is such a big part for my family and such a big part of what I grew up on.”

Having the opportunity to bring in a player who had Division I experience and be as energetic and talented as Pendergast, head coach Laurie Corbelli said she could not believe it.

“It was a noble move by coach Cook at Nebraska to call me and allow us to take her,” Corbelli said. “It was highly unusual to get a player of that caliber to come in the middle of her playing career. I was completely elated.”

Pendergast came to A&M bringing with her a “go, go, go” attitude, as coach Corbelli said, as well as a sense of leadership and knowledge. Pendergast is currently the coach for the men’s volleyball club team and she continues to show what the rest of her team knows.

“Megan get’s it; she knows who she is and what she brings,” Corbelli said. “I love the fact that she’s the [club] coach. I love it.”

While the volleyball team fields many stars this year, Pendergast is the North Star. She not only separates herself by the color of her jersey, but by her energy and hustle. When it seems that some players need a little direction, they only need to turn to their North Star to point them in the right direction. And while all the other players stand above her in height, few can stand to her level in passion and determination

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